Who Does the Past Belong To?
In the first part of the RTVS documentary series we will look at Poland before and after 1989. At the turn of the 1970s and 1980s, massive social unrest and upheavals against the system led to the rise of the independent trade union “Solidarność” which gained support from millions of people. The unsatisfied workers who were able to quickly mobilize found allies in opposition intellectuals and Catholic dissidents. The situation, which had got unbearable for the government, was solved by president Wojciech Jaruzelski – on 13 December 1981 he declared martial law and thus spared Poland a direct intervention by Warsaw Pact forces. In spite of the efforts of the political police (Służba Bezpieczeństwa), opposition movements were very active and they gradually managed to negotiate and gain certain concessions from the government. The revolution of 1989 was thus preceded by a long reformation process which has earned it the title “refolution”. The lengthy process of change with participation by the governing party had seriously complicated the process of reckoning with the past taking place after 1989. Discarding of a great part of archival materials problematic operation of the institution responsible for the administration of archives (IPN), the impossibility to achieve justice and gain redress – under these circumstances the media publish various unverified lists of SB collaborators and there are various other wild lustration attempts that result in wronging many innocent people. How can past be reckoned with? How to judge crimes committed under then valid laws? Did 1989 really bring such a marked change? Creators of the TV documentary have searched for answers to these questions together with the authors of the stage production entitled Follow me! – Tomasz Kireńczuk and Radek Rychcik –, historians Ryszard Terlecki and Rafal Romanowski, and professor of physics Jan Stanek who has been falsely accused of collaboration with the SB. Follow Me, produced by the New Theatre in Krakow, is one of the outcomes of the project Parallel Lives – 20th Century Through the Eyes of Secret Police, whose initiator, main organiser and producer is the Divadelná Nitra Association.
Aired on Saturday 11.10.2014 at 21.00 on channel Dvojka